Abatements on the rise in Franklin Township


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

The Franklin Township Road Department has been busy this fall and shows no signs of slowing down.

To date, the township has abated 87 properties, more than they abated for all of 2014.

“One of the reasons we have been so busy this year is because we lowered how high grass should be before we get involved,” said Jim Stevens, road department supervisor. “Last year, the grass had to get to 12 inches, this year it is only eight inches.”

Stevens also blames the excess rain in the early summer, as well as new residents in the township who are not familiar with the rules regarding property upkeep.

“We also have a lot of vacant properties and renters who aren’t keeping up with their properties,” he said. “Even if you don’t own the property, you should still keep it up or we are going to get involved.”

In order for a property to be declared a nuisance, a residents must file a complaint with the township. After a complaint is made, township officials come out and inspect the property and will leave a door hanger on the door notifying them of a hearing date. At the hearing, the trustees will evaluate the property and determine if it is a nuisance. If it is, a certified letter is then sent to the property owner giving them a period of time to rectify the issue. If the issue is still not fixed, the township will step in.

According to Stevens, many times the same people are reported month after month.

“The facts are we have a lot of repeat offenders,” Stevens said. “We have a lot of rentals and abandoned houses and those are the majority of the offenders. I have some people that we have been moving their lawn for six years.”

Besides issues with high grass, the road department also has seen an increase in illegal dumping. According to Stevens, in one weekend someone dumped 41 tires in a township alley.

“We just have a lot on our plate,” he said. “We have projects we are continually working on, special projects that are coming up and then just general township maintenance.”

With the layoff of an employee earlier this year, the department is short staffed, something Stevens doesn’t see changing anytime soon.

“We have already done our budget for the year and that is just not factored into it,” he said. “It would be great to have some extra help, however we just can’t afford it and the trustees have repeatedly said we need to live within our means.”

If you have a nuisance property in your neighborhood that you would like to report, visit www.franklin-township.com.

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